Tarentum School to host first school reunion

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What at first seemed like a good idea has turned out to be a very good idea.

Wallace Mobley of Brundidge said he and Winnie Merle Helton were reminiscing about the good ol’ days at Tarentum School and the idea of a school reunion “dawned on” them.

“We started to get up names and we soon had a hundred,” Mobley said. “I called just about every one of them and they were all excited and are looking forward to Saturday.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Tarentum School Reunion will be from 10 a.m. until on Saturday at the Tarentum Community Center, which is on the site of the storied schoolhouse.

“We’ve gotten in contact with as many people as we could but we want to invite all of those who attended Tarentum School to come. You don’t to call. Just bring your family and come,” Mobley said.

Tarentum School was a three-room schoolhouse that housed grades one through six and, in the later years, grades one through five.

“We’re not sure exactly how old the school is but we know that in 1916 it was one of 111 schools in Pike County,” Mobley said. “Of course, many of them were little one-room schools. Tarentum was bigger, though. We had three rooms and a lunchroom.

“‘Miss’ Pete Galloway was the cook. We all wanted to get picked to help her serve the lunches because we got to get out of school. It didn’t even matter that we had to wear hairnets.”

Mobley said the school was warmed in winter by a potbellied stove and cooled in the summer by breezes that made their way through open windows.

“We got our water from a hand pump and we had wooden outhouses, one for the girls and one for the boys,” he said and added laughing that each outhouse had six holes, all in a row. “There was no privacy in there.”

Teachers at Tarentum School didn’t believe in spoiling the rod. A common punishment was to be hit on the open hand with a ruler. And, sometimes, a mouth washing with soap fit the crime.

Many of the students carried their lunches in syrup buckets or paper sacks. Often, the lunches were cold biscuits and sweet potatoes. During recess, it was a special treat to be allowed to walk down the road to Black’s store for candy and an RC Cola.

“Classroom programs were held in the largest room and those were big occasions,” Mobley said. “We had good time at Tarentum School and we’re looking forward to reliving those good times on Saturday. We’re going to have hotdogs and hamburgers and desserts and just sit around and talk. We’re expecting a big crowd and I know that we’re going to have a real good time.”

Tarentum School closed in 1955 much to the dismay of those in Tarentum and its “suburbs.”